Lesson Plan Nine (Student Resources)

The People vs. Musicians.


During the 1940’s and 1950’s, new songs were printed as song sheets in magazines like “People’s Songs” and “Sing Out,” which were then handed out at colleges and coffee shops.  This was the best way to exchange new music before the advent of the internet. Everyone learned to play the songs, but the musicians often did not receive any royalties.  Should the artists who created the songs have received royalties for their original work?  This same question occurs in our day, when many people use the internet to share and download music and films without paying for them.


Intellectual Property (IP): The ownership of ideas. Unlike tangible assets to your business such as computers or your office, intellectual property is a collection of ideas and concepts. There are only three ways to protect intellectual property in the United States: through the use patents, trademarks or copyrights. A patent applies to a specific product design; a trademark to a name, phrase or symbol; and a copyright to a written document. All three methods have limitations--there's no one perfect way to protect an idea (adapted from’s Small Business Encyclopedia).